I learned recently that Governor Cuomo uses his pardon power to re-franchise New Yorkers who have fully completed their prison sentences. Why would we rely on such a cumbersome, temporary, and ad hoc method to handle something as serious as voting rights restoration?
We shouldn’t and we won’t! The New York State Legislature has introduced bill S.830 / A.4448, a crucial piece of legislation that would codify this process by automatically re-enfranchising New Yorkers who have served their prison time and need their voting rights permanently restored. I am writing to urge the State Legislature to pass S.830 / A.4448 and for my friends and neighbors to read up on this life-changing piece of legislation.
The voting rights of nearly 43,000 New York citizens, nearly three-fourths of whom are Black and Latino, are not automatically restored under the law even though they have completed their prison sentences and returned home to raise families, work jobs, pay taxes, and contribute to society. This is both unfair and easy to fix.
These citizens deserve to have a stake in their communities — not be continually punished by having their voting rights denied.